RWE Innogy chooses Bremerhaven as offshore wind power

RWE Innogy and Eurogate Container Terminal Bremerhaven GmbH have entered into agreements on use of areas in the Bremerhaven container port. Starting next summer, RWE Innogy will use these areas as a base port for constructing its offshore Nordsee Ost wind farm.

The lease agreements are to run for a term of two years and cover areas totalling a maximum of 17 hectares and a directly adjacent quay of up to 400 meters on Container Terminal 1 in Bremerhaven. From this base, a total of 48 wind turbines of the 6 megawatt class, and the corresponding foundations, will as of next year be pre-assembled, shipped and assembled at the wind farm site approx. 35 kilometres to the north of the island of Helgoland. The Nordsee Ost offshore wind farm 1) with a total installed capacity of 295 megawatts is due to be switched on in 2013.

Prof. Fritz Vahrenholt, chairman of the Board of RWE Innogy: “Eurogate offers us in Bremerhaven excellent conditions for constructing our first German offshore wind farm. After all, we need very large areas and in particular the necessary infrastructure if we are to use our construction ship Seabreeze. Bremerhaven already made the necessary adjustments for this new sector of industry at an early stage. This far-sighted decision is today bringing benefits not only to the city itself but also to the offshore industry in general.”

Emanuel Schiffer, chairman of the Board of Eurogate: "We are very pleased that RWE Innogy decided in favour of our terminal in Bremerhaven. The location is ideally suited for the handling of large wind energy plants. The handling of large container vessels is in no way impaired by the temporary solution. Container logistics is and will remain our core business. The handling of wind energy plants, however, represents a major opportunity for the future of Bremerhaven, and we are making a central contribution to this end."

To realise its ambitious offshore wind power plans in this regard, RWE Innogy commissioned construction of special offshore construction ships from the Korean shipbuilders Daewoo at the end of last year. The first ship, with an order volume of approx. EUR 100 million, is scheduled for completion in autumn 2011 and will be used in the construction of the Nordsee Ost wind farm.

To allow unrestricted operations for this kind of construction ship in the Bremerhaven port area, the subsurface of the mooring area needs to be reinforced. The result of this construction work will in future be used not only by RWE Innogy, but also by other companies and ships operating in the region.

The areas on the container terminal also have to be prepared. This will entail Eurogate moving all containers currently stored in the area as well as disconnecting certain container gantries and shifting these to the north. RWE Innogy is also planning to lease office space with around 50 workplaces.

The Senator for Economy and Ports has announced that his department has made available EUR 3.5 million for refurbishing the quay installations for the offshore logistics. Günthner: “Offshore logistics and shipping represent a central component of our strategy of establishing Bremerhaven as a top address for wind energy in the long term. The solution now agreed is well in time to secure further development. The long-term perspective requires an independent offshore harbour. The Senate is set to make a decision on the precise location before the summer break.”

Jörg Schulz, Lord Mayor of Bremerhaven: “The excellent cooperation between the economic development society BIS, our bremenports harbour planners and the port operator Eurogate have made it possible to adapt to the logistic requirements of RWE Innogy within a very short time. With the support of the state of Bremen, we shall create the infrastructure necessary for loading and shipping of the major wind energy equipment. Our long-term strategy for Bremerhaven as a wind energy location will be implemented on a continuous basis; and it will be evident here that the necessary competence in the areas of wind energy and logistics are available in the Bremerhaven region and all cooperation agreements can be negotiated.

Use of the southern end of the container terminal represents a satisfactory temporary solution; we are at the same time working as a matter of urgency on the realisation of the offshore terminal in the south of Bremerhaven, and I am confident that we shall also see successful realisation of our plans there.”

The newly constructed offshore-base port will see all components for the wind power plants being stored, pre-assembled and loaded for shipping. The actual construction of the wind farm will commence when the foundations are constructed at a water depth of 22 to 25 meters. This will require weekly sailings of the installation ship carrying two foundation structures each trip.

This will be followed by transport and installation of the actual wind turbines. With a length of 109 meters and a width of 40 meters, the construction ship is able to transport up to four turbines of the multi-megawatt type at the same time, before assembling them on site. With satellite steering, it will be fixed in the marine location to the nearest centimetre for the construction work and is able to operate at water depths of over 40 meters.

Apart from construction of the Nordsee Ost offshore wind farm, RWE Innogy is also currently planning construction of the wind power plant Innogy Nordsee 1, which will be built at a point 40 kilometres to the north of the island of Juist with an installed capacity of approx. 1,000 megawatts. Approval of this project is expected some time this year. Innogy Nordsee1 will also commence electricity generation in part in 2015. Overall investment for this project measures around EUR 2.8 billion. RWE Innogy is currently operating offshore wind farms in the United Kingdom and Belgium with a capacity of 158 megawatts. A further 250 megawatts are currently being constructed off the southern English coast.

1) The European Union supports the realization of Nordsee-Ost as one of the lighthouse projects in the field of renewable energies in Europe with about 50 million Euros in the context of the European Energy Programme for Recovery (EEPR).